Skip to comments.Across the United States people remain stubbornly divided over Roe v Wade.
Posted on 01/28/2013 8:18:49 PM PST by ExxonPatrolUs
Roe v Wade? No it's not, as Bob Hope memorably quipped about Dan Quayle a choice between two ways of crossing a river. It is the landmark ruling of the United States Supreme Court exactly 40 years ago that legalised abortion, a decision the court based on the constitutional promise of a citizen's right to privacy. And as anyone with the remotest interest in American politics will also be aware, the issue is today more divisive than ever.
On Friday, thousands of abortion opponents braved Washington's icy weather to take part in a March of Life on the Mall, to mark - or rather denounce - the ruling on its 40th anniversary. That rally came after an election campaign in which abortion helped to shape the outcome as rarely before. Undoubtedly the Republicans' growing opposition to abortion cemented support among women for President Obama, a vital factor in his victory; arguably, too, abortion cost Republicans control of the Senate. Remember the remark of Todd Akin about how a woman's body could ''shut down'' in the case of a ''legitimate'' rape? Or Richard Mourdock's insistence that a pregnancy arising from rape was ''the will of God''?
Messrs Akin and Mourdock were Republican candidates in the red states of Missouri and Indiana respectively, competing for seats the party was expected to win. Both lost. Yet their defeats also illustrate the great abortion paradox here. Americans favour a woman's basic right to end a pregnancy - but at the same time they oppose them.
Back in January 1973, the nine judges struck down the Texas law that made abortion a crime other than in cases of rape and incest, that was at the heart of Roe v Wade. The margin was 7-2, remarkably clear-cut by today's standards where many key court decisions are 5-4 squeakers.
And poll after poll since has shown broad and consistent support. In the most recent, by NBC News and The Wall Street Journal last week, as many as 70 per cent said they did not want the law overturned, a proportion if anything higher than a decade ago. Yet at the same time by a clear majority, 51 per cent to 40 per cent, Americans declare themselves in another poll to be pro-life rather than pro-choice. Thus today's endless argument over abortion, a war of attrition with no end in sight.
Since 1973, the court has revisited the abortion issue half a dozen times. In each instance it has left Roe v Wade's central tenet intact, while chipping away at the edges: barring government employees from performing abortions, allowing states to impose restrictions on first-trimester abortions, and banning
so-called ''partial birth'' abortions.
And as the Supreme Court has chipped, many states - all Republican-run - have joined in with a vengeance.
Take Virginia, which last year sought to require women seeking an abortion to face an invasive and medically unnecessary transvaginal ultrasound examination. Public outcry forced that plan to be dropped, in favour of an external exam, the so-called ''jelly on the belly'' procedure. The state has also passed retroactive legislation requiring clinics, old as well as new, to conform to the same building standards as new hospitals. To comply, clinics will have to spend a great deal on renovation, or lose their licence - which, of course, is what the law's proponents were seeking.
In conservative South Dakota, a mountain of paperwork has been added to the already stressful abortion process.
The mandatory waiting period has been increased to 72 hours from 24, while a patient must undergo counselling, including an explicit warning from her doctor that the abortion will ''terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being''. If that shames a woman into keeping her child, that is precisely what the law's supporters intend.
The social effects of Roe v Wade are harder to quantify but surely profound. Fewer children have grown up in poverty and in single-parent households. Conceivably, the availability of abortion is linked to the drop in crime rates in the US since the mid-1990s - on the theory that some of these children who would otherwise have been born post-1973 would have been more likely to commit crimes.
But the war of attrition risks a return to the status quo ante. As always, money talks: better-off and better-educated women will be able to secure abortions easily while women who are poor and don't know their way around the system and its thickets of new restrictions will not.
Maybe the only hope of reversing the trend lies in a long-term change of attitude by a Republican party no longer able to afford the alienation of women, nor to be perceived as callous and indifferent to ordinary people. If so, things will have gone full circle. Until the late 1960s, Republicans were if anything more favourable to abortion rights than Democrats. Then Richard Nixon made his play for the ''silent majority'', including socially conservative Roman Catholic Democrats, a key electoral group in several northern swing states.
By 1972, he was denouncing his liberal opponent George McGovern as a champion of ''amnesty, abortion and acid''. Battle was joined and, notwithstanding Roe v Wade, has continued ever since. Bill Clinton ought to have resolved the issue, when he said that abortion should be ''safe, legal and rare''. Would that it were so simple.
The constant reinforcement of the idea Quayle was an idiot continues. Even saw an episode of Psyche where they once again mention the spelling bee. Yet no mention of the 57 states or any of Biden's mistakes. Kids grow up thinking all republicans are idiots. Graduate Harvard and Yale and fly fighter planes and you are nothing but a monkey look a like moron.
People SHOULD be stubbornly divided over abortion.
There is no way to reach “consensus” on this, nor should there ever be.
good grief...if we haven't figured out by now that a HUMAN BEING exists from conception, then here is no hope for us at all....and, as virtually everyone in the world now agrees, there is indeed a human, separate and equal, unique DNA, then there is NO justification for taking his/her life....none.
Has anybody ever sent any sort of a request to all 9 supreme court justices asking how they would rule were Roe/Wade ever to come up for a redo? My own GUESS, and it’s nothing more than a guess, is that they all view Roe/Wade as bad law but settled law and that such a vote would be 9-0 against the conservative position and, IF that is the case, then the GOP should not be losing elections over a lost cause.
“The social effects of Roe v Wade are harder to quantify but surely profound. Fewer children have grown up in poverty and in single-parent households. Conceivably, the availability of abortion is linked to the drop in crime rates in the US since the mid-1990s - on the theory that some of these children who would otherwise have been born post-1973 would have been more likely to commit crimes.”
I find these utilitarian arguments totally without merit. There are still plenty of children born to single mothers even with abortion legalized. So would Rupert be OK if the mother decided to kill these kids after they’re born? And if not why not?
In the 50’s and before there were few kids born to single moms and abortion was illegal in most states, and crime was lower. So even his utilitarian argument doesn’t support abortion.
The issue of abortion is not about what economic benefits society may derive from having abortion legalized. Rather, the issue is strictly about whether that unborn child is a human being. All other considerations are just noise to confuse people. Until a strong consensus is reached on when life begins, abortion will remain a battleground.
Might possibly have been fewer pregnancies over the past 40 years if abortion was not legal. Statistics or theory is just dumb. Ok crime is lower but babies in the trash can has risen significantly. We would have a better society if abortion had not been legal all these years.
Do you actually think anyone’s losing elections over abortion? Maybe what’s his name, but that was about rape, too, over which there is considerably less stubborn division. Whenever else it makes headlines is in similar bad soundbites, which the media calls “gaffes” and might as well be on any subject, as you can state any position safely with the right words.
Granted, on some subjects people are more prone to incitement, and certainly the MSM asks more gotcha questions over “women’s issues” than others. But, again, it all comes down to saying the right things. Since talking to cameras eats up near as I can tell 99% of politicians’ jobs, we should expect better.
The theory isn’t very sound, anyway. They pull in the downward sloping crimerate of the 90s on the basis of that being when the first post-Roe v Wade generation came of age. But they aren’t doing the math, because kids turn into violent felons around 13-14, and the 90s don’t start until 17 years after abortion legalization. That’s assuming the decline in crime started in 1990 exactly, which I doubt.
Doesn’t anyone remember the crack epidemic? I grew up with gangsta rap and movies like “Boyz in The Hood.” According to this theory those trappers and characters never existed.
The writer is dancing around the abortion lobby's dirty little secret here, the one that links modern liberals with Margaret Sanger but which liberals will not say out loud.
If there was a glittering right to "privacy" oozing from the "emanations of the penumbra" of the Constitution as the murderous Roe vs. Wade decision defined, then that same right to "privacy" would prevent states and the Feds from imposing restrictions upon all other manner of "laws" they have infected upon our nation.
Ask a woman who has murdered several of her children through abortion if she had that "right", and she will tear your throat out before answering she has this "right" and how DARE you question her or the court.
Ask that same woman if you are permitted to possess a piece of sheet metal with a spring in it that holds more than ten rounds and can be inserted into your legally owned firearm, and chances are she will say you don't have that right.
Truth has been redefined, and Satanic forces run our courts, governments, and institutions.
America is, at last, on her last legs. We have killed her.
Yeah, I’m just a stick-in-the-mud when it comes to infanticide...
Yes. In fact I could give you three names of people you might want to ask the same question, i.e. Mourdock, Atkin, and Allen...
No, see, that’s because of “gaffes.” I’s rather misleading to say they lost because of abortion, or if not misleading at least intellectually lazy. The Atkins comment, for instance, was as much about idiotic biology and rape as abortion. To say it was about abortion is to pretend as if the issue of whether or not rape is sufficient grounds for abortion was before the electorate, which it wasn’t. Obviously you don’t need any good reason to abort, whether or not rape is a good reason. And if Atkins thinks rape is not a good enough reason, it isn’t as if he had been promoting criminalization for aborting babies conceived by rape. It only came up because he stumbled into a “gotcha” trap.
Now, if the electorate voted him down because no one holding the belief he alluded to in the rape quote deserves election, fine. But that could’ve been about anything, is my point. I am reminder of the phony pickle Rand Paul got into not long ago when he took Rachel Maddow’s bait, if I recall correctly, and badmouthed the civil rights act. Scandalmongers jumped on that one, too, though it had no ultimate effect. Had he lost his next election, however, partly because of it, and had others on our side been hurt by similar bad soundbites, would it br correct to say we were losing elections because of civil rights? No, because there’s no reasonable argument that such issues are of contemporary import.
What is important is reputation, and reputations can be ruined by association with unpopular positions on so-called “hot button” issues. Especially issues upon which the public’s mind has been corrupted by lib philosophy. But to say this or that issue happened to be the rock upon which this or that politician’s boat was dashed is not to say they lost because of it. They list because they weren’t steering and were out of control. It’s not as if the rock jumped out and hit the boat out of nowhere.
Perhaps this feels like nitpicking, but it’s of fundamental importance to me. For I can accept that “social issues” are a distraction from certain more primary goals. I can also accept that they often cause Pubs to put their feet in their mouths. Maybe even oftener than “fiscal issues,” though no Romney “gaffe” hurt him more than the 47% comments. But this claim that we lose elections “because of abortionln” misses the point. It implies the other side won on the issue, which is false. The sides are unequally under scrutiny.
It seems that way with the debt ceiling, too, for instance, given our media handicap. But at least there two competing ideas get opposed: tax hikes vs. spending cuts. What is being opposed in the Atkin abortion debate? Well, there is no opposition because there is no debate. Because the side that’s being represented by Atkin is no side, because denying abortion for rape cases is not up tot consideration. What you have is Atkin’s unpopular position and...that’s it. There is no other side, because it’s all about the stupid comment which us supported by basically no one else.
Dems hold if not equally unpopular at least extremely unpopular positions on abortion, including defense of partial birth abortion. They also hold positions that might lose them elections were they ever at issue before the electorate, including forcing religious institutions to pay for abortion, forcing doctors to perform or others to take part in providing abortion services against their consciences, government subsidy of abortion, etc. But somehow they never seem to lose elections “because of abortion.” Why, if what they think can be just as distasteful to the electorate? Because they don’t put their feet in their mouths like Pubs. Or, more accurately, it isn’t as widely reported when they do.
If ever they do, and occasionally Dems lose due to “gaffes,” be careful not to say it’s “because of” whatever issue the gaffe happens to fall under. The mistake is the thing, nit the subject of the mistake. Except, of course, that the subject must be prone to incite the media to hyperbentilate and the public to take notice. It must be “hot button,” in other words.